NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence girls basketball team knows that they will have to win their state playoff games on the road and they like it, just so the games keep coming.
The 11th-seeded Lady Pioneers upset another victim on Wednesday with a 49-36 win over third seeded Secaucus on the road in the Group 1 North 2 state quarterfinals.
For the New Providence's girls team, it continued its success in the state tournament that has seen them win the last two Group 1 state titles.
"I guess there is something about this program at this time of the season," said senior forward Emma Culleton, who scored eight points against the Patriots.
Culleton and the Lady Pioneers they don’t seem to mind that they will be playing all their state playoff games far from their cozy town.
“Whatever it takes, and I think we played better on the road,” said Culleton who along with Sara Lowenstein and Lauren Cronin are on their last drive for a state title.
As it turns out, New Providence might have been playing in the dark if they were at home as a transformer blew out back at home and the borough was in the dark on Wednesday night.
But back in Secaucus, junior forward Cassandra Squeri led New Providence in scoring with 14 points while Kaycee de Voogd and Nicole Sanczyk added 11 and nine points respectively as the Lady Pioneers raised its record to 15-10 on the season.
At one point New Providence dropped to 8-6 on the season after dropping a 36-31 decision at Oak Knoll in Summit at the end of January.
More importantly, New Providence will travel to Arts in Essex County in the state sectional semi-finals on Friday at 6 p.m. The 10th-seeded Arts upset second-seeded Dunellen, 49-32 in the quarterfinals.
"I think we have been working hard in practice and working on some of the little things in our game," said Squeri.
After traveling 90 minutes to defeat Belvidere on Monday, 66-52, on Monday, New Providence travelled east and started out strong against the Patriots.
The Pioneers built up a 16-point lead halfway through the second quarter and took a 27-14 lead at halftime.
Culleton hit the second of back-to-back buckets for the 22-6 lead with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half.
But while New Providence was able to handle the Patriots full-court press, they weren't taking care of the ball early in the third quarter.
The Lady Pioneers saw that 16-point lead shrink to four, 30-26, with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
But the Pioneers were able to learn to break the Secaucus press especially to start the fourth quarter and went on an impressive 13-0 run to start the final stanza.
Squeri said that the key to breaking the Secaucus press was pretty telling. "They weren't covering the inbounds pass," she said.
What was once a two-possession difference became a dominating Lady Pioneers 49-27 lead with a little less than two minutes remaining in the game.
During that run in the fourth quarter, Squeri and Culleton added six and four points respectively to put away the Patriots.